Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just who is Sarah Palin?

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska

Frankly, I was also shocked at the choice of Sarah Palin. Seriously, running a town of 9,000 isn't close to running a city like New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles. Has she even been to an inner city?

I'm also wondering about why McCain chose her. Is it really because she's a former Miss Alaska contestant, who counters his old age on stage. An interesting balancing act indeed. (Don't look at the young man - look at the pretty young thing).

And, if McCain thinks women will see Hillary Clinton in her, he better think twice, she is NO HILLARY! Is she really able to deal with a national security issue at 3:00am? What's the most crisis Ms. Palin has had to handle... out of control polar bears?

And what's this about her firing of the police chief because he refused to do something about her brother in law who was divorcing her baby sister? They say she's a ethical reformer...yeah right.
This election is interesting indeed.


Subject: McCain's dangerous choice

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

She was elected Alaska 's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1

Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2

She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3

Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4

She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5

She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6

How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:

She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK

She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK

As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK

Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK

She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK

I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team


1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Will Smith in Zanzibar,Tanzania

Actor Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith are currently on a visit to Tanzania, East Africa. They are currently on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.

Today they had the privilege of meeting with Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume and his wife Mama Shadya.

Othman Maulidi of Zanzibar took this photo.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Skeletal Beauty is ‘In’…so says Hollywood!

Many times we hear about a certain star passing out because they were simply starving. People need to eat and there is a reason for that…to nourish the body. Yet some are choosing not to eat or to eat just enough to survive in the name of ‘beauty’.

People come in all shapes and sizes but Hollywood would have you believing that only one size is good, super thin. Today, I’m going to talk about ‘thin’ in Hollywood. I call it ‘Skeletal Beauty’. If you take a good look at some of today’s stars they are just skin and bones with a big head and a face that it beautified by tons of make-up. In some cases they are suffering from malnutrition so their natural hair is falling out or looks horrible so they wear extensions and wigs. What price beauty?
I mean I have seen some famous actresses up close. Yuck! They look sickly and gaunt.Look at some of the voluptuous stars of the 50’s and 60’s. Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield & Raquel Welch would be considered overweight by today’s standards. I saw a chorus line from the 30’s in the film and most of the dancers had ‘something’ to their name. Today they’d be considered too fat to dance.
Remember Twiggy and the waif look. She weighed 90 lbs and looked more like a 12 year old boy than a woman. Women have to look like 12 year old boys to be beautiful. Hips have disappeared from a lot of the stars.I was watching a behind the scene of a certain movie and the director was pointing out how beautiful his lead actress was from a side profile. She had no back side or chest. She looked like a board to me.
Sometimes I ask if men did not create this thin image so that they could control women. Let’s face it, a 90 lbs woman is physically less of a threat to a man than a 180lb one. Plus they are playing with the female mind and pitting women against each other this way. And let me not go into the bulimia and anorexia thing. Women are killing themselves to achieve an unrealistic body thanks to the ‘Skeletal Beauty’ image.
The diet industry is a ‘billions of dollars’ business because of the ‘thin’ obsession. Yet, a lot of dieters don’t ask themselves why their bodies rebel and their diets don’t work or if they do, it’s temporary.
Is it me, or does it seem that films that use people who resemble ordinary people do better at the box office. Look at the success of the film, Fried Green Tomatoes, and its star, heavyset Kathy Bates. Commercials that have real looking actors selling products tend to do better than those which have actors who look like perfect models. Why…because the majority of people can identify with them.
I look at a film like the remake of the Amityville Horror (2005) and I laugh. That’s because the two leads are too gorgeous to be believable. The mother of three kids looks like a model, and the father Ryan Reynolds, looks too buff to be what he is. Wouldn’t he have a little paunch and be more rough looking for someone owning a construction business?
It’s no secret that those women who are starving themselves in the name of beauty are also grumpy. I’ve worked with some. One day, someone brought some donuts in. So this thin lady stood over them for like five minutes having a very vocal debate about whether she should eat one or not. I mean was her goal to let us know that she watches what she eats or to ridicule everyone who ate them.
I got so fed up, with the debate I told her, “Just eat the daym donut!” She walked away and needless to say we haven’t spoken since.
Now tell me, don’t you just hate it when someone takes, half a bagel or donut or some other pastry and leaves the other half. That seems like the ‘in’ thing. I watch what I eat so I can only eat half or a quarter.
I saw a guy shout at a woman who did this saying, “We don’t want your leftovers!”
Well skinny ladies, I have seen something really bad on my media job. I have seen guys laugh at the skinny starving ladies. Yes, they laugh, the woman thinks she is some kind of Goddess for being a size 2 or less. As soon as she turns the corner the men laugh.
They joke they don’t want bones but something to hold onto and they weren’t men of color either. Another time, there was a woman who dieted and became bony thin to the extent that people started telling her she needed to eat. Every time she walked by people worried if she would fall down and die.
Plus size actress, comedienne Mo’nique has been an advocate for heavier women. She is not advocating getting fat, but advocating acceptance and self- esteem for women who have been relegated second class status because of their body size. There’s a serious message for the big girls in the film ‘Phat Girlz’.
I’m not saying fat is good. Of course there are negative health effects when the body has too much. But the body needs some fat and there is a reason for that. If a person gets sick, or is in a starvation situation, the body uses the fat to nourish the body until the person can recover. There have been cases where some thin people have died simply because they had no body fat. And there have been cases where thin fitness buffs have died from heart attacks. So no, heart attacks aren’t the monopoly of fat people. This will be a great topic for another discussion.
Shelly “nun- chucks” mentioned air brushing in a lot of models photographs. Yes, that also helps create the idea that these women we see have no flaws. Well, if they didn’t have flaws then why did it take ten people to get the model ready for the shoot? That perfect fitting blouse or pants make have some pins in it so that it looks that way. Ah, Hollywood influence. The sad thing is that this influence is now being felt in the Third World. I'll go into detail in another discussion.
Films should be representative of real people. If you want to see real people just stand on the street and look who walks by. Most people are not size 2 or below. They come in all shapes and colors. It’s time for films to reflect this.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Black Actor and Skin Color

Halle Berry and Denzel Washington

Recently, I had a discussion with another black actor about skin color and the movies. We agreed that lighter skinned black actors are favored over darker actors. Take a look at mixed race actors like Halle Berry and Terrence Howard. They get more work and better roles.

I remember the first time I saw the late Bernie Mac on a sitcom. He had a small role in which he was ridiculed by another black person because of his dark complexion.

It’s like this, when you say ‘black’ we black actors tend to get lumped into one group. But in reality, we have been broken down into several based on our skin tones. So for instance, in most commercials and magazine ads you will see lighter blacks used. But in ghetto scenes they go for darker skinned actors. Black villains are also darker.

I have heard some film folks justify using light skinned black actors or not using blacks at all. The excuse, “It’s difficult to light black people especially if they are in the same scene with whites”. So, what’s the real problem? Is it that people don’t want to take time to work on lighting? Or is it really something subtly engrained into people’s minds?

Now, why are blacks different shades? It’s mostly because of the legacy of slavery. African slaves being forced to bear their white masters children and then being brought up believing that lighter is better. People opted to have light skinned babies believing that they would have a better life. In most black families you will find people of different shades with different hair textures as well (and hair texture is another issue). If you want proof, just look at photos of real African slaves and what their descendants look like. The slaves were much darker while their descendants are lighter. The lighter you are the more mixing there was. I know people don’t like talking about slavery, but it is part of our history and should not and cannot be ignored or forgotten

But it’s not just the way that whites see us. Even we black people have issues with skin tone. Again, it’s because of the legacy of slavery. The ‘high yellow’ lighter skinned blacks were treated much better than the darker blacks. This is highlighted in Spike Lee’s film School Daze.

Well, I’m just grazing the issue today. I’d love to hear your views.